Panama has many beautiful places to visit and see. While Panama is not the cheapest Latin country to visit or live in, it has a rich history and places. However, many Afro-descendant areas get overshadowed by touristy areas. Therefore I want to highlight a few places in the city that represent the culture of Afro-Panamanians.
In my Black Expat experience blog, you can learn more about the different regions where the majority of Afro-Panamanians are located throughout Panama.
This list is for foodies, history buffs, and fashionistas. This is an easy 1-day guide to experiencing a little bit of the Afro-Panamanian side of Panama City.
Stan´s in Rio Abajo/ Afro- Antillean street
The first stop should be Stan´s bakery and the Afro-Antillean restaurants. This street is a place full of descendants of Afro-Caribbean people. This street has no glamour or pretty buildings. Nonetheless, the vibe is very homie. Here is where you can find homemade fried bacalao, beef, chicken, plantain, or pineapple patties at Stan´s bakery. This is not an empanada. These are homemade patties. You can also purchase Stan’s Jamaican bonbon bread, but this needs to be pre-ordered. This street also offers a few outdoor Afro-Panamanian restaurants that serve Irish moss or icing glass, fried fish plates, oxtail, and more. If you are visiting during the rainy season I suggest visiting on a day that is a bit sunny because most of the restaurants only have a top covering. Don´t let that stop you from getting yo grub on at any of these local places. Plus the cost is very affordable.
The next stop in learning more about Afro-Panamanian culture is visiting the SAMAAP museum. The Samaap Museum is a museum that tells the story of the many West Indians (Caribbeans) who came to Panama for the construction of the Panama Canal. This museum is a small Afro-Panamanian museum but has a rich history of understanding the lives of the Caribbeans who came from Jamaica, Haiti, Barbados, and various other Caribbean Islands for work. You are able to start from the 1900s to the present day. For Spanish speakers and history buffs, you can purchase some books that give you more information about the history and influence of Caribbean people in Panama.
Jean Decort shop
The last stop is to visit Jean Decort’s shop. He is an upcoming fashion designer from Panama, who is also an Afro-Panamanian. His shop is located in the Sunset Strip mall and is full of cute clothes, hats, and accessories. While his prices are not super budget-friendly, they are totally worth it because they’re original designs. So if you want to stunt on your friends with something original and not sold everywhere, his shop is definitely the place. This is also a great shop for a unique gift for your family or friends that isn´t necessarily located in the normal gift shops.
The reality is that many Afro-owned places don´t get visited or explored when people are on vacation or even move abroad. As a black expat and blogger, I hope to always highlight Afro-owned businesses and communities. Therefore, I´m excited for you to explore these Afro-Panamanian places in Panama City, Panama. Contributing to the community allows families and communities to have access to more resources and opportunities that lead to higher standards of living for future generations.
Comment below if you have been to these places and share your experience with me!
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